People gave him this money and it was there choice to do so. He did nothing wrong in taking the money. Granted it was a great deal of money to give someone who had not earned it, but very few people who have lots of money actually earn it realistically.
America is the land of opportunity and who is to say what the value of this man's apartment was to him. Obviously, the party wanting to purchase the hotel was willing to pay that amount. I'm sure they have since made their money back many times over after the construction of the new building.
No one forced the hotel owners to buy him out. They chose to begin making plans for a new building knowing that there were tenants they would have to buy out of the old hotel. He was willing to play hardball and made a good deal as a result. They ultimately made more money than what they paid out to him, so it's hardly unfair.
Obviously the people that wanted him out of the hotel didn't really mind paying him that much to leave. He worked for that money, standing his ground and battling rich developers. If they didn't want to pay him that much, I doubt they really would have had to. He also got a nearly free apartment for the rest of his life. He must have been an extremely smart man to pull it off.